Transport minister Sadiq Khan has instructed planners to consult Crossrail before determining applications for sites on the route. One branch is due to terminate at Abbey Wood in Bexley when completed in 2017.
A route extension to Gravesend via Erith, Dartford and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link station at Ebbsfleet will also be protected in case the option ever becomes affordable. "Safeguarding will allow this important rail project to be expanded in the future if the business case stands up," Khan explained.
Gravesham Borough Council leader Mike Snelling welcomed the route's safeguarding. "The prospect of Crossrail terminating at Gravesend has enormous potential but, as it stands, this is a vague idea and we would urge that it becomes a firm commitment," he said.